Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Like mince pies, ginger wine, brazil nuts and packets of dates, the Moon Wiring Club album is a seasonal occurrence. The crepuscular dank of Ian Hodgson's latest is always linked for me with that time of year when daylight hours shrivel and the chill creeps under your clothes into your bones.  

A Fondness For Fancy Hats is the latest emanation from the Blank Workshop. There are two formats, compact disc and cassette, with the latter bearing an extra title: Soft Confusion.  In line with the governing audio-concept of "Edwardian Computer Games", the cassettes nestle inside the sort of plastic case that once upon a time housed certain videogames ("mainly BBC Micro ones", notes Ian, causing me to nod blankly, having not the slightest inkling whereof he speaks).  

The Soft Confusion version especially -  which involved recording much of the CD onto tape, mucking about with it, looping, weaving in game sounds and ghost-flickers of earlier MWC tunes,  until the end-product resembles a "knacked-up" mixtape - is one of the best things he's done yet, I think.  Hear an excerpt:

At this point MWC possesses the most consistently on-it discography (and Fancy Hats is album #9, would you believe!) in the H-ological domain, nipping clear ahead of Ghost Box, Jon Brooks, Mordant, James Kirby, et al, who all have more stumbles to their name. (Only the Royal Wedding-timed Somewhere A Fox Is Getting Married failed to fully engage me, and perhaps revealingly, that one didn't come out in the winter). 

More information about A Fondness for Fancy Hats / Soft Confusion and the "mind palace" is secreted here. A vintage piece on Moon Wiring Club lurks over there.